A Tale of Fukuoka

The Journey…

…didn’t start off well. It was cold and rainy in Tokyo. It took three crowded trains to get to the airport and when I tried to check in, there was no trace of my reservation. The coward in me thought, “All right then. You don’t have to go.” I mentally slapped her, hard, and asked if the flight was full. The nice ANA lady said there were two seats left. I bought one, thinking, “Yeah, I might end up losing money on this adventure, but if I don’t show up, I’ll lose a lot more than that.”

I boarded the plane along with 300 guys in suits. This was a first for me, but if you think about it, who else would be flying from Tokyo to Fukuoka mid-morning on a Thursday? I was sandwiched between two salarymen but at least it was only a two hour flight and only one of them was a mouth breather.

Upon arrival…

…things improved immensely. I had been instructed to take a taxi directly to the studio from the airport. The driver asked if I wanted to go over or under, and having no idea what that meant, I said, “Omakase” (‘Sup to you.) We went over, which turned out to be a fantastic ribbon of highway that sends you sailing over the city with views of Hakata Bay and the surrounding mountains, and plops you down practically at the front door of the studio, where the director and producer were waiting for me.

The recording wasn’t until Friday, but they had me go on Thursday so I could have a script check meeting with the director. She and I got along like an old pair of sneakers; instant best friends. While we were working, and laughing, the producer came in with a tidy pile of taxi coupons, each neatly labeled with a Postit: “Go to hotel”, “Go to studio”, “Go to airport”. So cute. So Japanese.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA

The studio building was right next to Fukuoka Tower, which was right next to a man-made beach. We finished much earlier than expected so the director and I went for a walk on the beach. Then they sent me to the hotel, saying they’d pick me up later for dinner.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

The Hotel…

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA…was another first for me. I realized I had never checked into a hotel alone before, but that was smooth sailing, too. “So sorry, this is just a single room, but we’ve given you a free upgrade. There’s a calf and foot massage machine in your room.” Groovy.

Being the curious cat that I am, I went for a walk around the neighborhood, but it was all twee cafes and upscale stores, not my cup of tea, so I went back to the hotel and spent some quality time with the massage machine.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA

The next morning…

…I had a fabulous hotel breakfast. (Why is it that, while always delicious, scrambled eggs and toast taste so much better at hotels than at home?) It was still early, so I used my taxi ticket to go back to the studio. I took a picture of the Pepto Bismal Poodle…

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA…and another beach walk. The sun, the wind, the water all put me into a very good mood indeed for the recording, which went without a hitch. Much laughter was had by all, and that’s always a good thing.

At one point, I asked the tech guy to play back the bit we’d just recorded because I thought there was a noise. Nobody else had noticed it but they decided to indulge me, and there it was, plain as day, a slight “whoosh” as if the narrator had lightly brushed her lip against the microphone. A lot of things can be fixed with computer magic these days, but that kind of thing is a problem. Everyone looked at me with smiles and raised eyebrows. Even the tech guy glanced over his shoulder, and he didn’t look at anything but his buttons and switches the whole time. I looked down at my lap, very pleased but slightly embarrassed by all the praise.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Then it was back to the airport, more guys in suits—the one who sat next to me warrants a whole blog post of his own if I can summon the courage to write it—three trains and home.

 

The point of all this…

…is that I had total confidence in my ability to do the job, but it was my first time to do it outside of my Tokyo comfort zone. I work with the same production companies and voice people all the time, but in this case, it was total strangers in a city I’d never been to before.

Parts of it felt oddly disjointed. It struck me as strange that I could speak the same Japanese in Fukuoka that I speak in Tokyo. The neighborhood around the hotel looked much like Tokyo but not quite. The people in Fukuoka seemed to be much more attractive than Tokyo people, but maybe that was my semi-tourist rose colored glasses and the posh neighborhood.

All in all, it was an exhausting but wonderful experience. I’ve spent so many years working in this field and finally it all came together, my multitude of experiences and gradual gleanings all being put to the test and coming out all right. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “A Tale of Fukuoka”

  1. Oh I was there with you all the way (except your work of course) and am so pleased “only one’ of your seat neighbours was a mouth breather! I would love more detail of your return journey companion.

    And I wish someone would give me taxi chits with things like Royal Opera House, Saatchi Gallery and Edinburgh written on them.

    I am enjoying your ‘flower power’ background.

    1. Thanks, Mrs C. I’m still working on the seatmate tale.

      Actually, I am just a teensy bit too young for true flower power, but I am fond of the word groovy.

      1. I saw one of them. While I’m fond of silliness, that kind of tacky sex jokes are not really my cup of tea.

        I did the seatmate post. I’d love to know what you think about it.

  2. YAY Eda! you did it! and so well, i might add. life is how you view it. keep the glasses ON, i say. and accept more scary offers….these result in growth. and that’s a good thing, ne?

  3. I heard the “whoosh,” too!! (^^) Not sure if it was something I did or not, but it was there, plain as day, in the playback, ne? It was such a pleasure working with you… hope it happens again soon!

    1. I’m so glad you read this one! I had a blast in Fukuoka–the other programs in this series haven’t been as much fun. Fingers crossed there will be another.

Any opinions about that? I love to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s